This week the state Department of Labor & Industries held its first stakeholder meeting to begin rulemaking on the salary threshold for Executive, Administrative and Professional exemptions from the Minimum Wage Act.

This is important because like the federal government, Washington state has specific exemptions from the definition of “employee” for the purposes of the Minimum Wage Act that exempts specific types of employees from the overtime requirements and the new paid sick and safe leave law. Our industry’s management staff are exempt under the “Executive, Administrative and Professional” exemption, which is identified by the types of activities these employees engage in, (more info here.) and a minimum salary threshold.

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At the end of 2016, the federal department of labor increased the salary threshold to $913/week = $47,476/year = $22.83/hr. There was a lot of opposition to this increase, as well as several legal challenges filed. Ultimately, a federal court ruled that the new rule violated the department’s statutory authority and the new presidential administration rescinded the previous rule and announced intention to re-write the rule, but until any rule is adopted, the previous salary threshold of $455/week stands.

The salary threshold requirement is set by administrative rule by L&I, and the department has indicated they will initiate rulemaking to change the exemption standards and has announced they intend to update the rule to be more consistent with current workforce demands.

If you would like to receive periodic updates about this rulemaking process, please email Julia Gorton, State Government Affairs Director, at .